The US should appeal to Iraq’s neighbors including Iran and Syria to help out
Iran’s nuclear designs should be left to the UN to handle
The US should stabilize Israeli-Arab relations to help stabilize the Middle East
Possibly reduce troops in Iraq but still help militarily/financially
3000 Iraqis die a month and violence is escalating
The violence is largely sectarian; Al Qaeda is responsible for only a small portion of the violence
Crime is rampant/uncontrollable
Secure zones are few—violence precedes and follows US military peacekeeping sweeps—no stability—the lack of security compromises and devastates all aspects of Iraqi reconstruction and governance
“Staying the course” is not an option
Increase in troops/redeployment may be necessary
The US will facilitate privatizing Iraq’s oil reserves
My take: I agree with Russ Feingold’s initial criticism of the commission:
FEINGOLD (12/6/06): "The fact is this [Baker-Hamilton] commission was composed apparently entirely of people who did not have the judgment to oppose this Iraq war in the first place, and did not have the judgment to realize it was not a wise move in the fight against terrorism. So that's who is doing this report."
"Then I looked at the list of who testified before them. There is virtually no one who opposed the war in the first place. Virtually no one who has been really calling for a different strategy that goes for a global approach to the war on terrorism. So this is really a Washington inside job and it shows, not in the description of what's happened—that's fairly accurate—but it shows in the recommendations."
The group’s recommendations are nothing short of “stay the course” plus diplomacy. That must irk those with the “with us or against us” mentality but diplomacy is always the best first option…unlike Bush’s use of war as first option in foreign relations. No definite date or numbers for troop withdrawals are listed.
This Group is just a cover your ass measure. I could have done without it.
I also think James Baker is a war profiteer and walking refuse—S&L Scandal etc. http://www.hereinreality.com/baker.html but he is practical and he is intelligent: "You talk to your enemies, not just your friends,'' Baker said. There's a lesson in that for GWB.
Correct me if I am wrong, I only saw about 20 minutes on this on TV, but didn't this study group recommend involving Iran militarily? If so, how could that possibly be a good idea?
From a strategic point of view, it is better to engage your enemies on the diplomatic battlefield than on the military battlefield. Diplomacy opens avenues of agreement and alternatives to simple brute war.